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Vietnam May Start Auctioning off ‘Lucky’ License Plates

Vietnamese officials are hoping to cash in on people’s love of lucky numbers by legalizing the auction of personalized license plates.

According to VnExpress, officials from the Traffic Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security have outlined a legal framework which would raise additional government funds by allowing the state to auction off “lucky” license plates. If successful, license plate auction revenue could bring in as much as VND14 trillion (US$618 million) in the next three years, legislator Nguyen Van Canh told the news outlet.

The practice is currently illegal under Vietnamese law, as license plates are not listed among the items approved for auction in the country’s Property Auction Law.

Still, provinces and localities have been attempting to use such measures as fundraising for decades. The issue first arose in 1993, when officials in Hai Phong briefly auctioned license plates. The national Traffic Police Department proposed legalizing the practice at the time, however authorities put an end to the bidding, citing the Property Auction Law.

A decade later, Binh Thuan and Nghe An provinces followed suit, raising billions of dong in unauthorized auctions and using the money to combat poverty. Many of the auctioned license plates were valued at over VND900 million (US$39,700), however bidding was shut down in both provinces by the Ministries of Finance and Public Security.

Finally, in 2008, the national government instructed the ministries to look into the possibility of legalizing license plate auctions and construct a proposed framework for such activities. Once again, the joint circular drafted by these government agencies was not passed as a result of the Property Auction Law.

However, in recent years, officials have urged the National Assembly to review this legislation in order to accommodate such auctions.

If approved, the new legal framework would restrict license plate auctions solely to ordinary, civilian license plates. Local authorities would then be required to submit both quarterly and annual reports on these auctions to the Ministry of Finance, and could use the funds earned to support charitable causes.

[Photo via VOV

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